EASTLAKE, OH – The Great Lakes Loons (54-47) moved back into a two-way tie with Lake County (54-47) with a 4-3 victory over the Captains Saturday night at Classic Park. Brandon Lewis knocked his 17th HR with Great Lakes in the first inning, giving the Loons an early 3-0 lead.
EASTLAKE, OH – The Great Lakes Loons (54-47) moved back into a two-way tie with Lake County (54-47) with a 4-3 victory over the Captains Saturday night at Classic Park. Brandon Lewis knocked his 17th HR with Great Lakes in the first inning, giving the Loons an early 3-0 lead. 2021 Dodgers 9th rounder Lael Lockhart achieved his first professional win, striking out a season-best five batters in his two scoreless frames.
Lewis’ home run came as the seventh of the week, despite GL knocking six in the series debut on Tuesday. Combining Thursday and Friday’s games, the Loons were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position entering Saturday.
Despite loading the tying run in the 9th with a leadoff walk, Jeff Belge recorded his third save of the month with two strikeouts in the final 1 1/3 innings. Belge has only allowed one earned run in seven total appearances in August, amassing 14 Ks in 9 1/3 innings, and is a perfect 3-for-3 in saves/opportunities in the month.
Carson Taylor finished with his second consecutive multi-hit nights, scoring twice in his 2-for-4 performance.
Great Lakes stretched their lead with a run in the top of the sixth inning, which would prove to be the decisive one. With the bases loaded, Lake County’s Jared Janczak plunked Jonny DeLuca with a pitch, scoring Taylor from third. The hit-by-pitch for DeLuca was one of two different times he’d be plunked in Saturday’s win.
After three quick hits through two innings, the Loons’ offense finished with one hit in their final seven innings at the plate. Base-runners were not necessarily at a premium, however. Starting with the sixth inning, the Loons put 11 men on-base, with Taylor’s ninth-inning single as the only runner to reach via a hit. Great Lakes drew six walks, were hit by a pitch three times, and reached on a fielder’s choice once in the final four innings.
Lake County out-hit the Loons offense, six to four, making Saturday’s game their 14th win in 41 total occasions this season the Loons offense had been out-hit in their 101 games.
The Captains’ top five hitters all recorded a hit, with the biggest coming from Lake County’s Jhonkensy Noel’s two-run HR in the fourth inning. LC finished Saturday’s game 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and were turned away late by Belge, who had runners at second and third in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Great Lakes claimed the first two games of the series, only for Lake County to return the favor with consecutive wins to even the series, as well as the East Division’s standings, entering their final matchup of 2021 on Sunday. Both teams trail the West’s Cedar Rapids (56-45) by two games, who currently hold the second and final playoff spot with 19 games remaining in the regular season.
Great Lakes intends to finish the season series against Lake County on a strong note when they conclude their current six-game series at Classic Park on Sunday. GL’s Jesus Vargas takes the mound, making his 21st appearance of the season. Opposing Vargas is Lake County’s Mason Hickman, who holds a 4.97 ERA in 16 starts this season.
First pitch at Classic Park is penciled for 1:30 P.M. EDT, with the Loons On-Deck Circle, Built by Three Rivers, begins at 1:00 on ESPN 100.9 FM. Great Lakes returns home to answer the calling TinCaps of Fort Wayne on Tuesday, August 31.
The Great Lakes Loons have been the Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team’s inception in 2007. Dow Diamond serves as the team’s home and also houses the Michigan Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and ESPN 100.9-FM. For tickets or information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.